National Geographic : 1921 Mar
FROM LONDON TO AUSTRALIA BY AEROPLANE Photograph from Sir Ross Smith "WE DRANK SUCCESS TO TIIE LAST STAGE OF THE FLIGHT IN TI1E VINTAGE OF TIMOR-COCONUT MILK" The aerodrome on the island of Timor, the last landing place before reaching Australia, had been completed by the I)utch officials the day before the arrival of the Vimy (see p. 335). to give the maximum amount of run, and then opened the throttle full out. We gathered way slowly, and I watched the fence around the course come rapidly nearer and nearer, and still we were not off the ground. It was a tense and anxious moment. When fifty yards from the rails, I pulled my control-lever back; the trusty Vimy rose to the occasion and just cleared the rails. There were still houses and trees to be negotiated, and I set the Vimy climbing at an alarmingly steep angle. Another breathless moment passed, and the wheels of the under-carriage just brushed the tree-tops. It was a great triumph for the Vimy. She achieved the seemingly impossible, and to this day I regard our escape from disaster during this perilous take-off as providential and one of the finest maneuvers of the whole voyage. HEADING FOR JAVA After a wide sweep above Singapore, we headed for the open sea and Java.